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The Indian Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry is in the midst of a rapid transformation brought about by a combination of factors - from demographic to technological. I am proud to report that HT Media is at the forefront of this transformation, and has the products to fully benefit from the evolving media landscape.
Over the years, we have grown our business, expanded our readership base, and sustained our position as a credible and influential media company. Our flagship newspaper ‘Hindustan Times’ is the largest newspaper in the most important English markets of Delhi and Mumbai, in terms of both readers and advertisers.
The Indian economy remains one of the fastest growing economies of the world, with a growth rate of 7.7% during the fourth quarter of FY 2017-18. It is set to grow at around 7.4% in FY 2018-19. Already, it is the sixth largest economy in the world.
In FY 2017-18, India saw several path-breaking reforms which, while being beneficial to the cause of growth in the long-term, did cause some temporary issues. Among these was the country’s biggest tax reform so far, the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax regime to unify the Indian market. India also passed the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA). Both temporarily affected the advertising spends by various industries. Against this background, your Company demonstrated resilience and growth.
The Indian M&E industry grew at a CAGR of 18.6% between CY 2011 and CY 2017. Print media remains the second largest contributor to the industry. India is among the few countries in the world where print media remains significant and relevant; digital media is making rapid strides but is still small. This implies that both have sufficient room to grow in parallel.
Print media is continuing to see a rise in readership with the number of newspaper readers touching 407 million in CY 2017. Print media revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.3% between CY 2016-21. This is powered by regional language papers, led by Hindi.
Our newspapers, Hindustan Times (HT) and Hindustan are market leaders. Mint, our Business paper, is an opinion leader. HT cemented its leadership position (by number of readers) in Delhi-NCR and Punjab, and continues to remain a strong and clear No.2 in Mumbai. With a total readership of 5.24 crore, Hindustan maintained its position as the 2nd largest newspaper in the country, dominating key markets such as Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. It is also a strong No.2 in UP and Delhi. Our Business newspaper, Mint, is the second largest business daily in the country.
During the year, we undertook several successful initiatives in newsprint procurement including quality optimisation, strategic sourcing and expansion of the vendor base. The Company has delivered growth in profits with a significant increase in profitability, on the back of a large cost rationalization exercise.
Fever FM continues to be the leading radio station in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru (non-Kannada); while Radio Nasha, our second station completed its second successful year as the premier retro-music focused station in Delhi and Mumbai. New stations - Fever Hyderabad, Fever Chennai and the UP stations were torch bearers for the business.
On the digital front, we continue to cater to news, information and entertainment content through our websites hindustantimes.com, livehindustan.com, livemint.com and desimartini.com. All the websites posted strong performance in pageviews and unique visitors. Shine.com, our foray into the online job portal, continues to be a prominent name in the recruitment industry. We continue to invest disproportionately in digital to ensure we stay relevant in the emerging media landscape.
In pursuit of our efforts to engage with audiences across platforms, and also to set ourselves apart, we continued to create value through other offline initiatives. Notable among them was the 15th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, where the speakers included the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former US President Barack Obama.
Our employees are one of the greatest assets for us, with their relentless drive to help our organisation scale new heights through their sustained efforts and quest for innovation. We continue to provide our employees with opportunities to learn, develop and grow with the organisation.
The Road Ahead
According to the International Monetary Fund, the Indian economy is expected to lead GDP growth among major global economies in CY 2018. This augurs well for Indian M&E industry. With the Parliamentary elections in CY 2019 and indications that corporate earnings growth is already reviving, advertising spends are expected to rise. Though newsprint prices could remain volatile, we are on track to mitigate this through internal initiatives.
Throughout our journey, we have experienced growth in terms of presence and performance. At a time when Fake News is threatening the very fundamentals of our society, we provide a credible, reliable, and familiar alternative. At the same time, providing greater returns to our advertisers will be a key aspect for future growth. In FY 2017-18, our EBITDA grew by 22% and PAT by 80%. This astounding growth could not have been accomplished without the contribution and support from our key stakeholders. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their trust and faith in us. We look forward to continue on our growth path and create value on a sustained basis.
Chairperson and Editorial Director